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      Black History Snippet--Col. Mae Jemison

      Black History Snippet--Col. Mae Jemison

      Black History Profile:

      Col. Mae Jemison (1956- present)

      --the first black American woman in space, having launched on Sept. 12, 1992, aboard the space shuttle Endeavor

      --born in AL, her parents moved to Chicago for better educational opportunities

      --she loved watching Star Trek and credits Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura) with her wanting to be a scientist and travel to space

      --often dissuaded from being a scientist by her teachers, for a time she decided to become a dancer, excelling in all forms

      --even as a student at Stanford, she endured racism-- even from her professors, which drove her to regularly sloganize that "I'm going to do this and I don't give a damn."

      --as a senior in college, when deciding to pursue arts or science, it was her mother told her "you can always dance if you're a doctor, but you can't doctor if you're a dancer"; she chose the latter

      --she graduated college at 20 with 2 degrees: receiving a B.S. in chemical engineering and fulfilling the requirements for a B.A. in African and Afro-American Studies

      --while working on her Doctorate of Medicine at Cornell, she traveled to several other countries, giving medical care--all while still studying and learning modern dance

      --after medical school, she was a general practitioner for a while, but decided to join the Peace Corps where she regularly broke rules concerning patient cost--claiming she was there to save lives, not dollars

      -- witnessing Sally Ride venture to space, along with the Challenger tragedy, she decided to apply to the NASA program, receiving the opportunity in 1987

      --in 1992, she lifted off from Kennedy Space Center with a poster of Bessie Coleman firmly in her grasp

      --she retired from NASA in 1993, choosing to focus more on sciences and advocate strongly in favor of science education and getting minority students interested in science

      --also in 1993 Jemison founded her own company, the Jemison Group that researches, markets, and develops science and technology for daily life

      --founded the Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence; an international science camp where students, ages 12 to 16, work to solve current global problems

      --Jemison founded BioSentient Corp and has been working to develop a portable device that allows mobile monitoring of the involuntary nervous system

      --being a lover of the sciences and arts, she currently holds nine  doctorates in science, engineering, letters, and humanities

      --"Science provides a personal understanding of universal experience. Arts provide a universal understanding of a personal experience."

      --Col. Mae Jemison

      Black History Snippet--Ida B. Wells

      Black History Snippet--Ida B. Wells

      Black History Profile:

      Ida. B. Wells (1862-1931)

      --though born in slavery and freed by the Emancipation Proclamation AND the 13th Amendment, living in Mississippi was extremely harsh due to the Black Codes all southern (and some northern) states enacted

      --Wells received her schooling at Shaw University as a child, but dropped out at 16 when both her parents and one sibling died of yellow fever; she obtained a job teaching--claiming she was 18

      --at 22, on a train ride to Nashville, even though she'd bought a first-class ticket, she was forcibly removed and thrown into the "black car"--she bit the hand of one of the men who threw her off the train; she sued and won $500, but the win was overturned by the Tennessee Supreme Court--ordering her to pay court costs

      --this sparked her to write about the injustices of race in the south; eventually becoming the owner of three Memphis newspapers

      --while campaigning against the squalid conditions in black schools, she was fired from several teaching jobs for her stances

      --in 1892, three African-American men—Tom Moss, Calvin McDowell and Will Stewart—set up a grocery store in Memphis. Their new business drew customers away from a white-owned store in the neighborhood, and the white store owner and his supporters clashed with the three men on a few occasions. One night, Moss and the others guarded their store against attack and ended up shooting several of the white vandals. They were arrested and brought to jail, but they didn't have a chance to defend themselves against the charges—a lynch mob took them from their cells and murdered them

      --the Memphis police refused to investigate and Ida's pleas fell on deaf ears, so she went on a crusade to bring attention to lynching deaths, cataloging them and publishing them in her newspaper; after she published the stories AND the names of the lynch-men, a mob stormed her offices, destroying them and threatened her death if she returned to Memphis

      --In 1898, Wells brought her anti-lynching campaign to the White House, leading a protest in Washington, D.C., and calling for President William McKinley to make reforms--showing proof that most lynching were a direct result of blacks competing with whites, rather than being based on criminal acts

      --lynching became her platform and she documented every known case she could find--discovering around 3500 known cases in 33 years

      --called out numerous racist women's organizations, including the Women's Temperance Christian Union (a 200,000 member "anti-racism" suffrage group) for the comments made about black people and their fight to gain white women suffrage, but not black women

      --considered a founding member of the NAACP, she left because she felt the organization lacked action-based initiatives--and was deliberately excluded by W.E.B. DuBois

      --as part of her work with the National Equal Rights League, called for President Woodrow Wilson to put an end to discriminatory hiring practices for government jobs and was a fierce advocate of women's suffrage

      --a leading proponent of the Dyer Anti-Lynching bill, which proposed fines and jail-time for offenders--it failed along with 200 other attempts to stop lynching

      --after a lifetime of fighting, Ida B. Well died mid-sentence while writing her autobiography; succumbing to kidney failure

      --"I'd rather go down in history as one lone negro who dared to tell the government that it had done a dastardly thing than to save my skin by taking back what I said."

      Ida. B Wells

      Black History Snippet--George Washington Carver

      Black History Snippet--George Washington Carver

      Black History Profile:

      George Washington Carver (1860's – January 5, 1943)

      --born into slavery, but kidnapped a week after his birth, so his actual birth date is unknown; only George was recovered by the Carver family

      --after slavery ended, the Carver family taught him to read and write--because no school would accept black students

      --as a teenager he traveled to a school 10 miles away to learn with other black students

      --he had a cordial relationship with the Carver's daughter, but for fear they would sleep together, they made him a eunuch--removing his genitals; this caused the high pitch voice he'd have for the rest of his life

      --calling himself Carver's George because he still believed himself to be their property, he met a young woman by the name of Mariah Watkins who taught him the 'George' was more important than the 'Carver'

      --after high school, he applied to several colleges and one accepted him, then rejected him once they discovered he was black

      --founded his own homestead and used the land for a small conservatory of plants, plowing all 17 acres manually

      --was 27 years old when he was finally allowed in college and was the first black student ever allowed at Iowa State Agricultural College, focusing on botany

      --earning respect as a botanist, Carver went to the Tuskegee Institute, where he taught for 47 years--educating black students in crop rotation,alternative cash crops, improving the soil of areas heavily cultivated in cotton, initiated research into crop products (chemurgy), farming techniques for self-sufficiency

      --it is widely believed that Carver created peanut butter--he did not; he did, however, create 300 different peanut uses (including peanut oil which was said to help with polio) along with hundreds of different uses for soybeans, pecans, sweet potatoes

      --he only patented 3 of his inventions (out of around 500), believing that his inventions were a gift from God and deserved to be shared, not hoarded for money--even turning down a job with Edison (for 100k/year) because Edison sought profit

      --had it not been for Carver and his farming techniques, the resurgence of the South would have been all but impossible

      --"Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses."

      --George Washington Carver

      Black History Profile--Black Wall Street

      Black History Profile--Black Wall Street

      Black History Profile:

      Black Wall Street (1906-1921)

      --40 acres founded in northeastern Tulsa in 1906 by O.W. Gurley (a wealthy black landowner from Arkansas) and J.B. Stradford

      --Stradford believed that black people had a better chance of economic progress if they pooled their resources, worked together and supported each other's businesses; they bought large tracts of real estate in the northeastern part of Tulsa, which they had subdivided and sold exclusively to other blacks

      --the city was named Greenwood after it's first street, Greenwood Avenue, which was named after a city in Mississippi--which became very popular with people fleeing racism in Mississippi

      --as other blacks soon followed suit, buying area around Tulsa near what became Greenwood; Stradford later built the Stradford Hotel on Greenwood Avenue, where blacks could enjoy the amenities of the downtown hotels who served only whites; was designated only for "colored people" even though black ownership was unheard of

      --when Tulsa became a booming and rather well noted town in the United States, many people considered Tulsa to be two separate cities rather than one city of united communities; white residents of Tulsa referred to the area north of the Frisco railroad tracks as "Little Africa".

      --at it's height, Greenwood was home to about 10,000 black residents

      --one of it's most prominent streets, Detroit Avenue, contained a number of expensive houses belonging to doctors, lawyers, and other business owners. The buildings on Greenwood Avenue housed the offices of almost all of Tulsa's black lawyers, realtors, doctors, heaters, grocery stores, nightclubs, drug stores, churches, funeral homes, restaurants, banks, hotels and and other professionals--along with two airports; there were fifteen well-known black American physicians, one of whom, Dr. A.C. Jackson, was considered the "most able Negro surgeon in America"

      --because blacks were so prosperous in the city, the KKK membership around Tulsa ballooned to 3200 members immediately after WWI, using the belief that blacks were stealing prosperity from whites

      --On May 30th, 1921 Dick Rowland, a 19-year-old shoe shiner took the elevator at nearby building to use the restroom  where 17-year-old Sarah Page accused him of sexual assault----which was later believed to be an excuse and justification for the klan to rile up their white base

      -- although she never pressed charges, the story made the front page of the Tulsa Tribune with the headline “Nab Negro for attacking girl in elevator”, while rumors began circulating that a white lynch mob was searching for Rowland

      --the incident further divided the town with one side believing Rowland raped Page and the other holding on to the belief that he simply tripped as he got onto the elevator and grabbed onto Page’s arm as he tried to catch his balance. Hundreds began to gather outside of the county jail that held Rowland. First, a group of armed whites, followed by a group of armed black men fearful of Rowland’s safety and determined to protect him.

      --what happened next was terrorism: before dawn on June 1, 1921, police assisted white militia and klansmen in shooting black men, women and children indiscriminately, setting fires to homes, businesses and people and calling in the military to drop airplane bombs on the city to curb a "Negro uprising"--arresting 6000 and killing 300+ black people, including famed surgeon A.C. Jackson, who was shot in the back

      --the riot was a means to put "niggers back in their place"

      --until recently, the massacre was omitted from ANY state and local records

      --though the city was rebuilt and flourished several times afterwards, none compared to the heights it had achieved immediately surrounding WWI

      Black History Profile--Zora Neale Hurston

      Black History Profile--Zora Neale Hurston

      Black History Profile:

      Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960)

      --one of the most prolific American writers in history; focused on the struggles of African-American women

      --born the 6th of 8 children, her parents struggled and had numerous jobs through her early years

      --when she was young, her family moved to Eatonville,FL--one of the first mostly black towns--where her father became mayor and minister of it's largest church

      --when her mother passed at age 13 and she was quickly shipped off to boarding school by her new step-mother, who subsequently stopped paying tuition and she was expelled

      --living among random family members and taking odd jobs for years, when she was 26 (and claimed to be 17), she was given a free high school education and went to Howard University--becoming one of the earliest members of Zeta Phi Beta and co-founded the Hilltop, Howard's newspaper

      --throughout her college career, she studied: Spanish, English, Greek, Anthropology, Ethnography ( a scientific description of people and their cultures) and Public Speaking--graduating with a B.A. in Anthropology

      --she became a fixture during the Harlem Renaissance, she traveled abroad studying blackness, culminating a her best known work--Their Eyes Were Watching God--to which black men (based on their portrayals in her book), called her book a minstrel show made for white audiences

      --an avid fighter for civil rights, her reputation was severely damaged when she was accused of molesting a 10 year old boy despite strong evidence that the accusation was false; she was also a fierce opponent of integration, criticizing the ruling of Brown vs. Board of Education

      --due to her reputation and criticisms--despite numerous awards--she had trouble getting money for her works and essentially died in poverty--her body laid to rest in an unmarked grave

      --more than a decade after her death, her works were revitalized and she once again received awards posthumously

      --though her body was never actually found, she was given a marked grave and proper funeral

      --based on the many works she wrote, she gave birth to the idea now known as intersectionality.

      "If you are silent about your pain, they'll kill you and say you enjoyed it."

      ---Zora Neale Hurston